Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Survival mode’ sees Djoko through at steamy US Open



‘Survival mode’ sees Djoko through at steamy US Open

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the third set in his match with Marton Fucsovics on day two of the US Open Men’s at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on Tuesday. AFP

‘Survival mode’ sees Djoko through at steamy US Open

Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic suffered in sweltering US Open conditions on Tuesday but battled through to the second round with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory over Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

Djokovic, playing his first match on Arthur Ashe Stadium since falling to Stan Wawrinka in the 2016 final, received a brutal welcome back to Flushing Meadows as soaring temperatures and high humidity prompted organisers to offer the men a 10-minute mid-match heat break for the first time ever.

“We both struggled. We were not the only ones today. Brutal conditions,” said Djokovic, who called for trainers who enveloped him in ice packed towels late in the second set.

“I had to find a way to dig myself out of the trouble.”

Until late in the third it was “survival mode” said Djokovic, who endured a rocky start to the season after elbow surgery before breaking through for a 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.

His Cincinnati Masters victory over Roger Federer stamped him a US Open favourite along with defending champion Rafael Nadal, despite his modest sixth seeding.

He certainly looked a contender as he reeled off the last 10 games against Fucsovics, showing signs of sharper focus even before the 10-minute heat break between the third and fourth sets.

Federer, the second seed, escaped the worst of the conditions as he headlined the night session on Ashe. Nor did he meet much resistance from Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 victory.

Up 5-1 in the final set, Federer was unable to close out the match against Nishioka’s serve, and then was broken on his first attempt to serve it out.

Federer, who claimed his 20th Grand slam title at the Australian Open in January, put the match away two games later, sealing it with a service winner.

“I didn’t know how really good Nishioka was,” Federer admitted of the 22-year-old, who was ranked 58th in the world last March before tearing a left knee ligament and sliding out of the top 150.

“I wanted to play well at the beginning of each set. I was able to break the beginning of each set, cruise after that. I was very happy.”

Fourth-seeded German Alexander Zverev kept his time out in the sun to a minimum with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Canadian lucky loser Peter Polansky.

And Australian Nick Kyrgios, opening the evening action on Louis Armstrong stadium, fired 25 aces and 48 total winners in a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Moldova’s Radu Albot.

For many, however, the day was a hard slog and the decision made some two hours in to afford the men a heat break after a third set wasn’t enough to prevent half a dozen retirements.

Italy’s Stefano Travaglia, Argentine Leonardo Mayer, Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, Russian Mikhail Youzhny and Serbian Filip Krajinovic were all victims of the heat, while Romanian Marius Copil succumbed to an arm injury in the third set of his match with seventh-seeded former champion Marin Cilic.

“I had heat stroke,” Mayer said of his decision to call it quits against Serbia’s Laslo Djere. “I was not going to die on the court – tennis is not for that.”

‘Think cool thoughts’

Women’s second seed Caroline Wozniacki took the weather in stride, trying to “think cool thoughts” as she defeated 2011 champion Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-2.

For France’s Alize Cornet, however, the steamy conditions were a “nightmare” that had her weeping courtside during a three-set loss to Johanna Larsson of Sweden.

In other women’s matches, reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber, seeded fourth, defeated Russian Margarita Gasparyan 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.

Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova beat Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 6-4, and 2017 runner-up Madison Keys downed France’s Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-4.

Maria Sharapova, who won the last of her five Grand Slam titles in 2014, advanced 6-2, 7-6 (8/6) over Patty Schnyder, out of retirement and at 39 the oldest player to qualify for a Grand Slam main draw.

Sharapova led the second set 5-1 but didn’t have a match point until the tiebreaker, finally securing the win over the determined Swiss on her fourth opportunity.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Nearly 2,000 detained for Phnom Penh curfew breach

    Nearly 2,000 people were detained in the capital for violating the curfew imposed by the government and Phnom Penh Municipal Administration. Municipal police spokesman San Sokseyha told The Post on May 16 that people were detained in two phases. In phase one, the government locked down Phnom

  • Jab drive announced for two more Phnom Penh districts

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration on May 15 announced a first-dose novel-coronavirus vaccination campaign for Boeung Keng Kang and Sen Sok districts from May 18-31, and a follow-up second-shot drive from June 1-15. Twenty vaccination sites have been set up in a combined 13 communes across both